This is a pretty good lineup: The man that will be the all-time leader in three pointers made, the NBA’s leading scorer, and the defending champion.
This year’s NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest could be interesting. The lineup of shooters for All-Star Saturday Night (Feb. 19) at Staples Center has plenty of guys who can knock it down:
• Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics): He is the defending three-point champion and is shooting 40.1 percent from three this season.
• Ray Allen (Boston Celtics): At some point Thursday he will pass Reggie Miller to become the man who has made more three pointers than anyone in NBA history. He’s shooting a wicked 46.2 percent from three this season.
• Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder): The NBA’s leading scorer last season and again this season, he can knock down the three but is shooting a pretty average 34.7 percent from there this season.
• Daniel Gibson (Cleveland Cavaliers): He spaced the floor for LeBron James for four years and this season is hitting 43.9 percent from three.
• James Jones (Miami Heat): He is spacing the floor for LeBron James this season and is hitting 42.7 percent from three.
• Dorell Wright (Golden State Warriors): He has made more three pointers than anyone in the NBA this season (124) and is shooting 40.9 percent from deep.
Looking for some snubs? Shawne Williams of the Knicks leads the league shooting 50.6 percent from three, and he is just ahead of the Spurs Matt Bonner at 50.4 percent. One other guy that would have been a good fit is Arron Afflalo of the Nuggets, shooting 44.9 percent from three this season.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.